Russian Classical Ballet Academy

Classical ballet

During the late 19th century, ballet continued to develop in Britain, France, Italy, and Russia. At this time, ballet techniques became formalized, with specific body, arm, and leg positions, which became known as the Classical style.

The Russian Classical ballets

Ballet became immensely popular in Russia particulary, meaning that some of the best Classical ballets came from this country, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty. These three ballets in particular are still included in the repertories of top ballet companies today and huge audiences flock to see them. One of the reasons why they have survived for so long is that the music was created by the great composer Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, who wrote the amazing scores and directly influenced the creation of the ballets.

Porträt des Komponisten Pjotr I. Tschaikowski (1840-1893).jpg
"Portrait of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)"
by Nikolai Kuznetsov.

Creating the ballets

To accompany Tchailovsky's music, Marius Petita and Lev Ivanov created complex dance steps that were built into the story to show off the dancers' technique. People who create dance steps are called choreographers. The dances were excuses to show off the dancers' skills, with the story told in mime gestures. A large group of dancers, known as the corps de ballet, provided the decorative background for the ballets.

Classical technique

In Classical technique, ballerinas dance on pointe, with both male and female dancers turn their legs our from the hips and point their toes, which extends their legs to make them look very long. They also have flexible upper bodies and raise their legs very high, with exciting turns, leaps, and difficult holds. Dancers perform complex solos and pass de deux (set pieces for two dancers).

Classical tutu

Alexandra Ansanelli Aurora Sleeping Beauty Royal Ballet.jpg
"Alexandra Ansanelli wearing a pancake tutu"
by Scillystuff

Due to the fact that dancers' leg- and footwork was becoming so complex, the Classical tutu began to be worn. It was a lot shorter and stiffer than Romantic tutu and showed off the dancers' whole legs, as well as being easier to dance in. Ballerinas were now overshadowing their male counterparts, whose role it was to present the ballerina to the audience.